Amid all the trade speculation of the past few days, we know at least one thing for certain: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones won’t be dealt by the Blackhawks by the 2 p.m. deadline Monday.
Pat Brisson – the super agent who represents the three players – told Elliotte Friedman on Saturday.
But, really, this news shouldn’t come as a shock.
Start with Toews, the Hawks captain who sat out the 2020-21 campaign and has 8 goals and 17 assists in 52 games this season. Not only would Toews have to waive his no-move clause, he would likely only provide a shortlist of teams he would be willing to go to. Then another team’s general manager would have eaten at least $5.25 million of Toews’ cap in 2022-23 while giving up a prospect or two, and/or a draft pick or two.
All this for someone who still plays a solid game from 200 feet but doesn’t live up to his high standards.
Kane’s situation is much murkier.
If he wants to win another Stanley Cup, his best option is to give up his NMC and allow general manager Kyle Davidson to move him to a contender. If he’s more interested in becoming the Hawks’ all-time leader, he would sign an extension.
But could Kane – whose contract expires after next season – have his cake and eat it too?
What if Kane forfeits the NMC and is moved to next year’s deadline in exchange for prospects and draft picks? Then, after possibly winning another Cup, he signs something like a four-year contract with the Hawks in the summer of 2023.
This would allow Davidson to throw some serious gas on the rebuilding project. Don’t get me wrong, this idea isn’t a magic bullet and won’t turn the Hawks into contenders in a year or two.
But with the right prospects and the right draft picks, who knows? Maybe they’re a playoff team in 2025.
As for Jones, who will carry a cap of $9.5 million from 2022 to 2030, it wouldn’t be the weirdest thing to see the veteran defenseman dealt with at some point. After all, it was Stan Bowman who sent Adam Boqvist and a slew of draft picks to Columbus for Jones.
Still, finding a suitor won’t be easy.
Davidson’s number one trade chip is goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who could score a first-round pick and/or prospect. Minnesota is believed to be interested, but seems unwilling to part with a first-rounder.
Dominik Kubalik is the Hawks’ next best chip. The high-scoring forward could add spark to a power play and he would provide plenty of depth in a third-line role.
Ryan Carpenter is a deep forward who can play 8-10 minutes and solidify a competitor’s penalty kill. Calvin de Haan has had a great season, is a character guy and has 37 games of playoff experience.
It’s unlikely, but maybe Davidson moves Kirby Dach in a change of scenery swap, much like Bowman did when he acquired Arizona’s Dylan Strome for Nick Schmaltz.
Speaking of Strome, he has 16 goals and 16 assists in his last 36 games. Davidson would surely make a move if a team overpaid, but Strome seems to have cemented himself in Chicago for now.
The next few hours will tell how much turnover hits the Hawks’ roster. It will then be up to the remaining players to move forward together.
Coach Derek King said his message would be: “We’re all here now. Nobody’s going anywhere. We have so many games left. … We have to build on what we started to build on. .. and we have to compete every night.
“It’s not just, ‘I’m safe and I’m going to play every game.’ You have to earn it. Accountability is always going to kick in with these guys.”
Moments later, King added, “We have a job to do. The Wirtz family, the Chicago Blackhawks, the fans – I mean, we owe them. That’s what we’re here to do.
“We’re here to play hockey and play it to the best of our abilities. I’m going to make sure they know that after Monday, that’s for sure.”